Shanghai’s economy expanded by 5.6 % in the first six months of the year, 1.5 percentage points lower than the national figure and the city’s slowest first-half growth since 1992, the South China Morning Post reported. Weak export demand is said to be the root cause of Shanghai’s poor performance. Outbound shipments in the first half fell 22.2% year-on-year to US$62.5 billion, while industrial output was down 3.6%. "It is now awfully difficult to meet the whole-year growth target," said Cai Xuchu, chief economist with the Shanghai Statistics Bureau. "Shanghai is now focusing on the quality of the economy rather than the pure growth rate." Yu Zhengsheng, the city’s party chief, said last week that the local economy had seen a turnaround in the second quarter, although it was still not on a solid footing. The central government is more positive about China’s prospects as a whole, saying the 8% GDP growth target is within reach.